Relaxation Questions, Tips, and Requests

Relaxation questions and tips: ask your relaxation question or post your relaxation tip here. Post requests for relaxation podcasts. Find out what other visitors have said about relaxation.

Relaxation Questions and Answers From Other Visitors

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page…


I clicked on the link given to me in my email however I can not play the download. Any suggestions?

Do you mean the link in an email from purchasing a relaxation download? If you purchased a relaxation download, clicking the link should save the audio file to your computer, and then you can play the saved MP3.

Please contact me using the confidential contact form on this page and I’ll make sure to get the problem solved for you.


Substitute neutral mages for upsetting ones

I’m a very visual person and was having trouble with a certain phobia. The phobia was made even worse by the disturbing images I was “seeing” in my mind’s eye. After some training, I’ve now been able to swap out the disturbing images, substituting your neutral cloud images instead. BIG BIG help, thanks!

Rejection and failure

by Michael
(Asheville, NC)

Could you do a podcast session guiding someone in dealing with issues of rejection and/ or failure?

Yes, this is a topic that would be relevant for many people. I will do a podcast on dealing with rejection/failure. Thank you for the idea!


Difficulty waking up

Hi Candi,
I’ve been enjoying your podcasts since 2009!

I’d like to request a podcast script for difficulty waking up in the morning.


Wow, you have been listening for a long time! Thank you for being a long-time listener.

A waking up script is a good idea. I will record one (but it probably will not be for a while because I’m not currently making new recordings). In the meantime, you may find the Guided Energy Starter helpful for waking up. I will post it as the next podcast!



How to Beat Stress Naturally

by Dahn Yoga

Stress is pretty much a constant in today’s world. Most jobs involve heavy workloads, families are busier than ever and the demands of modern living seem to provide little opportunity for relaxation. All of this can lead to out of control stress levels that leave individuals feeling run down and unhappy.

However, there are steps you can take to prevent stress from overtaking your entire life. Just spending a few minutes each day on relaxing activities or making minor lifestyle changes may be all it takes to banish stress and eliminate anxiety.

One of the most proven methods for reducing stress is meditation. This ancient practice has been used for centuries as a way to focus thoughts on the present and eliminate negativity from the mind. It works by training the mind to focus solely on the present. When a person is able to achieve this state of mind, they are less likely to worry about the future, which, after all, is the main cause of stress.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be practiced just about anywhere, requires no special equipment and can be completed in just minutes. All you need to do is find a relatively quiet place, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. While you do this, try to avoid thinking about your troubles. Just let the mind naturally clear itself while devote your entire attention to your breathing.

You can do this at your cubicle, in your bedroom or just about any place where you find yourself with a few spare minutes. Longer meditation sessions are preferable, but even just a few minutes of clear thoughts may be sufficient for limiting stress.

Yoga is another powerful stress-reliever. This practice is very similar to meditation in that it trains the mind to focus on the present. The difference is that it combines the mental benefits of a clear mind with the physical benefits of exercise.

In yoga, a practitioner is trained to focus on the sensation of their muscles as they go through positions. Much like training attention on breathing during meditation, this process helps to focus the mind on the present. Once you stop obsessing over your future worries, you may start feeling significantly less stressed.

You shouldn’t overlook the importance of proper nutrition when you are trying to beat stress. Unhealthy eating is a very common response to feelings of anxiety. However, this only makes the problem worse. A donut or cookie may seem like just the thing your body is calling for when you feel stressed, but these things are more likely to contribute to your problems.

A high-fat diet has been shown to stimulate inflammation in the body, much in the same way that stress does. By eating unhealthy foods you are only compounding this problem. Furthermore, other popular substances among stressed out people, such as caffeine, may excite the nervous system. This can make a person feel positive at first, but after a while it exacerbates feelings of stress. 

Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies in the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn Yoga is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of the Chun Bu Kyung.

flashback relaxation

hello i just joined your site, it seems so relaxing and peaceful and secure. I suffer from flasback due to certain trauma i experienced. I have been searching for ages for some type of guided imagery or hypnosis to help me cope with that. Im am delighted to have this webiste. I downloaded the mp3 version and i listened to the voice, and the person talking say to look at images on the screen, did she mean i was suppose to create my own personal image and imagine they are infront of me, or was i suppose to click on something else to actually bring up images. Because I didnt see any images, i could hear her voice. I wondered did i do something wrong Either way i found it incredibly helpful. it really helped me to feel grounded

thank you x


I’m glad you found the exercise helpful. The “screen” in the Coping With Flashbacks Relaxation is an imaginary screen where you picture your own images as if they are on a TV screen. You didn’t do anything wrong.

Here is the script in case you would like to have the written words, too:

Missing episodes in iTunes podcast

by Robin

Podcast listeners: Please note that the audio files for some recent episodes had been unavailable. The issue is now fixed, and the following episodes are now available for download:

Dealing with Rejection or Failure

Autism Relaxation to Decrease Stimming

Timed Stim Breaks Exercise: Audio to Accompany the Autism Relaxation Script


Hello Candi,
I really enjoy your podcast and find a lot of benefit from the scripts. I’m using iTunes, and the episodes have stopped after the “Hot Springs Sleep Relaxation”. The “Dealing With Rejection or Failure” and the two episodes for stimming are missing. Just a friendly FYI. Thank you for your show.

Thank you for letting me know! I didn’t realize that the audio files for these episodes were missing. I’ll get that fixed right away.

Uncovering Your Inner Playfulness

by Jonathan
(San Francisco, CA)

While listening to the script, Emotional Awareness, I had a thought pop into my head that I’m not as playful as I used to be. I guess the stresses of being an adult has made me too serious even though I feel there is a 10 year old some where way in the back of my psyche. I would appreciate if you could make a script that would allow me to unlock that inner playfulness when confronted instead of being defensive and serious.

I like that idea. I’ll do a script for an upcoming podcast on how to uncover your inner playfulness. Thanks for the suggestion!



I clicked on the link given to me in my email however I can not play the download. Any suggestions?

Do you mean the link in an email from purchasing a relaxation download? If you purchased a relaxation download, clicking the link should save the audio file to your computer, and then you can play the saved MP3.

Please contact me using the confidential contact form on this page and I’ll make sure to get the problem solved for you.


Relaxation script for stomach

by Tom Apple

Could you do an autogenic for stomach problems? I have not seen any scripts that focus on the core. I believe this would be helpful for those who have IBS.

I do have one script for relieving anxiety in the stomach. I will also record a script more specifically for IBS. Thank you for the suggestion. Here is the existing script:

Relaxation for Anxiety in the Stomach

Guided Imagery Relaxation Tips for ADD?

by Lisa M.
(Pennsylvania, US)


Recently I enrolled in your Learn to Relax course (which is incredibly informative- so thanks!)) and find the guided imagery relaxation techniques/scripts to be the most appealing. When I listen to them right before bed I fall asleep within minutes. This is awesome (as I have trouble falling asleep) but when I try to use them during the day or in the morning I have problems focusing on the scripts, as I have ADD and so end up thinking about a myriad of other things that’s prompted by the images in the script (e.g. Starry Sky will make me think of quasars, the Hubble spacecraft; the Color Visualization I end up thinking of all of the different colors of paints I have and which ones I need to buy (which reminds me I need to buy Ultramarine Blue…;)) I find these thoughts interesting and exciting but not relaxing.

At any rate, I’m attributing this issue to my moderate ADD and am wondering if there is any advice for being better able to focus on relaxing for people with ADD/ADHD?


Good Question. It can be difficult for those who do not have ADHD to focus on relaxation, so for someone who has ADHD symptoms focus can be particularly challenging. Here are some suggestions to try:

– Physical relaxation techniques can be easier to focus on since your body is active. You can incorporate physical techniques into any relaxation exercise; for example, by stretching when you are having trouble concentrating. Examples of physical relaxation scripts:

A Relaxing Walk

Stretch and Relax

Calm Stretching Relaxation

Decrease Fidgeting

– Build your attention span and ability to focus by concentrating (e.g. on breathing) for one minute, then two minutes…working all the way up to 15 minutes. When distracting thoughts arise, which is perfectly normal and expected, you learn to acknowledge them and let them go, and to turn your attention back to whatever you are focused on. Meditation exercises can help:

Breathing Awareness

Cue Words Relaxation

Breathing Awareness Meditation

– You may want to try writing your own custom relaxation script and recording it. Choose images that will hold your interest the most effectively, but are relaxing. You know yourself best and you know what types of cues will help you focus (and when you are likely to need them).

– Have you reached the Biofeedback module yet in the Learn to Relax course? Biofeedback can be a helpful way for you to learn to relax your body and it can also help you train yourself to focus.

– The best suggestion I have is to keep practicing. Know that it is normal to have difficulty focusing; nearly everyone finds this challenging at first. Having ADHD symptoms gives you an additional hurdle to overcome, so it may take more practice, more movement breaks, or intermittently using active types of relaxation to get to the point where you can focus for a longer duration.

I hope this helps!


Ways to relax……EVA TORTORA


Hi! I love ways to relax and sharing them.

Find a cool restaurant, sushi is always good

cup of coffee in a cafe

vanilla ice cream… to go out for frozen yogurt

dance around to your favorite song

design something….clothes, a project or a purse

work on positive affirmations “i am loved” etc.

contact or call a hotline

call a friend

call a family

check in with a roomate

excersise – go for a walk or jog

start something- a radio show etc.

watch something humorous




How to relax anytime, anywhere by ‘Focusing on breathing’

by Suryanarayana Chennapragada
(Rensselare NY 12144)

‘Focusing on breathing’ is a simple technique useful for all ages from 2 years to calm the mind and relax the body.

This is just one of six modes.

Segment mode: Every finger has 3 segments, separated by 2 cross lines. Place the tip of the thumb at the top segment of the little finger. Breathe in and out once, normally, without counting. Shift the thumb to the middle segment and breathe in and out. Move to the bottom segment and breathe in and out. Now repeat the same steps at the next 3 fingers. At the thumb, place the tip of the index finger on its segments and follow the same steps. Now switch to the other hand and repeat the steps. Continue practicing, switching hands. Advanced version: While breathing in, lift the pointing finger off the segment and while breathing out, keep it in contact.

Try this technique when you are in bed and wish to sleep. You will be amazed how smoothly you will fall asleep by the time you complete about 4 hands using the above technique. No more insomnia!

Question regarding deep breathing

In breathing exercises I am told that my rib cage should be expanding. How can I tell if it is expanding?


Good question. When doing deep breathing exercises, it can be hard to tell at first whether the rib cage is expanding enough.

Here are three ways to find out:

1. Place your hands on your sides, at a height about a hand’s width higher than the belly button. Your hands should be resting on your rib cage. With each breath in, the ribs should move about an inch out to the sides.

2. Look in the mirror as you breathe. You will notice your entire upper body moving. Your sides will get wider as you breathe in, and move inward as you breathe out. As long as you can see some movement, your rib cage is expanding sufficiently.

3. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. You will feel both hands rise with each breath by approximately half an inch.

In the video below, you can see an example of deep breathing. Watch for the movement of my sides as I demonstrate deep breathing – you can see expansion out to the sides with each breath.

Body awareness audio – not autogenic or progressive muscle

Hi Candi,

Before my query, I would like to thank you for your website and associated recordings.

My ability to relax has been directly influenced by your generosity. My gratitude to you is immense…

With that said, to help me move further on this journey, I was looking for a relaxation script that tours the body in some detail.

I know you have something like this on the site, but rather than making areas warm, or tense/release, I want to plainly direct my thoughts to the area.

Do you have an audio script like this that I could purchase?

Emjoy your day,


Hello Chris,

Thank you – it is nice to hear that you enjoy the recordings.

I am planning on putting together body awareness/body scan audio that may be close to what you are looking for. When it becomes available I will post it on the Relaxation by Inner Health Studio Podcast.

Meanwhile, the following relaxation scripts contain a body scan component:

Body Scan Sleep Relaxation

Protective Light Visualization

Body Image Relaxation

Generalized Anxiety Relaxation

Relaxation for Depersonalization



Do stretches at work

by Celia
(Boston, MA)

I work in an office and find that stretching at work is quite acceptable. Many companies now encourage people to stretch for ergonomic reasons.

Progressive/Passive Muscle relaxtion

by Celia
(Boston, MA)

For the most part progressive muscle does not work for me except interestingly enough on my face. My face will feel warm and relaxed after progressive muscle relaxation-the rest my body will just ache afterwards. I don’t feel any relaxation.

Passive muscle relaxation works pretty well. However, I can not “will” or deliberately relax my shoulder muscles. Breathing away the tension in the area just does not seem to work. They just stay tense.

Shoulder shrugs seem to help to relax them and generate some warmth and heaviness in the my shoulder area.

Any suggestions on how to passively relax shoulder muscles?

Shoulders can be one of the most difficult areas to relax. This is a very common area for tension to build up.

Progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and then releasing) can cause muscle cramping and soreness if muscles are already very stiff. Passive progressive relaxation (focusing on muscles and allowing them to relax) can be difficult if relaxation just does not seem to happen.

An alternative technique that can work for the shoulders is stretching. Stretching the muscles can allow some of the tension to be released. It is also possible to do shoulder circles or shrugs where you gently raise and lower the shoulders.

Massage can also help the muscles relax. Knead the muscles gently (you can do this yourself by placing your left hand on your right shoulder, and right hand on your left shoulder) to induce relaxation.

If you try all of these things and still find that your shoulders feel tense, you may want to try applying heat to the area. A warm pack or heating pad applied for 10 minutes can help give the relaxation a head start.

Stomach relaxation suggestion

by Norman dantzig

Hello candi

I appreciate your relaxation scripts. I was wondering if you could do one for stomach problems and ibs/ gerd. I would like to try some autogenics for the gut.


I do have one script for relieving anxiety in the stomach. I will also record a script more specifically for GERD and one for IBS. Thank you for the suggestion. Here is the existing script:

Relaxation for Anxiety in the Stomach

Autogenics vs. Meditation

by Celia
(Boston, MA)

As I have previously written I have found autogenics quite helpful. It has been successful in generating a feeling of warmth and heaviness and I think it slows my mind down.

I have been doing autogenics as a prelude to five to ten minutes of meditation. I find meditation more difficult. I read The Relaxation Response by H. Benson, where it states there are many ways to to get to the relaxation response and autogenics was quite effective in inducing the relaxation response.

Since I find autogenics more calming the meditation I was wondering if perhaps it made sense to try to lengthen my autogenics sessions to about ten minutes and drop the meditation. In short use autogenics not meditation to get to the relaxation response.

FYI-this is where I find time management important in relaxation. I try different techniques but I have focus on the ones that are most effective. Otherwise I could spend all day on relaxation techniques.

Relaxation tapes/hypnosis

by Cici

Do you use hypnosis in your progressive muscle relaxation tapes like the one you have on YouTube? Or in the music in the background? Thanks!

Hi Cici,

I would answer your question with both yes and no.

Yes – I do use suggestions for relaxation and it is possible to use relaxation techniques for self hypnosis.

No – I do not use any hidden meanings or messages either in the words or music of my relaxation scripts.

Here’s what I mean.

All of my relaxation scripts include suggestions for relaxation (for example, “allow your arms to relax”). The suggestions I use are straight forward, clear, and direct, with no hidden meanings.

Relaxation techniques (such as progressive muscle relaxation) can be part of hypnotherapy. A state of hypnosis can be achieved through relaxation techniques if a person achieves a deep enough state of relaxation. When in a state of hypnosis, people can more easily take in suggestions (for example, suggestions for positive change or suggestions to relax), but even in the deepest state of hypnosis, you can always choose whether to accept or reject any suggestion.

So, technically, all relaxation techniques could be used as part of a self hypnosis exercise (using hypnosis on your own for making positive changes). An example is taking in suggestions about relaxing so you more easily relax in the future. Another example is getting over fear of public speaking by taking in (and believing) positive suggestions for confidence. But you do not have to use relaxation exercises for self hypnosis; you could just decide to use them for decreasing muscle tension and becoming generally more calm without making any long term changes at all.

You can read more about the differences between relaxation and hypnosis, and how to ensure you maintain complete control over your own mind, on this page:

I hope this answers your question! Please post comments if you would like clarification or more information.


Relaxation/Falling asleep for people who are on call or working nightshifts

by martina

I have sometimes the opportunity to sleep at work. It might be nice to have a relaxation script for either trying to fall asleep during the day or even at work. It’s hard to follow the “you have nothing to think about for the rest of the evening” part of the existing scripts. 🙂


Yes, I would be happy do a script like this for an upcoming podcast. Thank you for the idea!


Progressive Muscle Relaxation CDs


My name is Anne and I am from Perth Western Australia.

I am just wondering if you have any idea where I can purchase your cd’s from here in Perth.



Hi Anne,

Thank you for your interest in purchasing my relaxation CDs. There are a few options that I think may work for you:

1) Relaxation CDs can be purchased directly from my e-store, and international shipping is available.

2) If the CDs cannot be shipped to Perth from the e-store, we can arrange for you to purchase the CD from me directly and I will ship it to you.

3) Audio tracks from the CD may be purchased as MP3 downloads (the tracks are not currently available for download, but if this would work better than the other two options I can make it happen).

Here are the links to the e-store pages for each of my CDs:

Guided Relaxation Scripts

Guided Relaxation Scripts With Music

Relaxation to Cure Insomnia

Please let me know if you have any other questions.



Relaxation – My Experience as an Anxious Person with Breathing Exercises

by Celia
(Boston, MA)

I just wanted to quickly share some of my experiences with breathing exercises as someone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder. Furthermore, I taught some of them to someone I know who also suffers from anxiety who finds them helpful. I have learned these exercises from the web – probably when I have the time I should go in for training with a real person.

I have been doing the exercises since October. I have found them helpful. HOWEVER, I find them to be more difficult to they are represented. I will often read “do x breathing technique for ten minutes and you will be calm” and I would do it for a minute and feel exhausted.

However, I have found them helpful but I find their relaxing effect to be more similar to physical exercise then going on a vacation. Breathing exercises require practice. I find their pleasant effect is like going on a mountain hike – it is refreshing, invigorating and my lungs are getting a bit of a work out. It takes time to get used to them. When I was sick and stopped doing them for a couple of weeks it took me about a couple of weeks to get used to them again.

They have the added benefit of making breathing meditations more relevant. Breathing exercises make following one’s breath in a meditation more interesting.

In short I have found deep breathing helpful but I have also found it to be closer to physical exercise then relaxing by lying in the sun.

Kids in Psych Center

by Lauren
(Albany, NY)

I am starting a relaxation therapy group. I am nervous, however, due to the clients who will be attending. I will have 5 kids (ages 12-20) who are cognitively below 10 years old. They all have ADHD, PTSD, and mental illnesses. One of them has extremely poor impulses and two of them have a very very hard time staying still even when enjoying an activity. Are there any relaxation techniques that involve the hands staying busy or moving around?

It can be especially challenging to use relaxation techniques when it is difficult to be still, but it sounds like you have the right idea – it’s not necessary to stay still to relax. Keeping moving while doing relaxation can help because the participants do not have to struggle to stay still.

The types of relaxation that involve the most movement and keep the hands busy are physical relaxation techniques (progressive relaxation, stretch and relax, etc) and creative relaxation.

A Relaxing Walk is a script that involves meditative walking. You can adapt this type of technique to other activities. It is possible to do breathing or stretching techniques while passing a ball around a circle, for example.

Sensory techniques (using real sensory experiences rather than imagining them as in the sensory relaxation scripts on this site) might also be helpful. A bit of extra sensory input – like sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair, wearing a weighted vest, or having an object to hold and manipulate in the hands – can help increase concentration and calm. Sensory experiences such as sand play, sculpting clay or dough, drawing, and otherwise experiencing touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell can be calming and facilitate relaxation.

It can be helpful to take short relaxation breaks and then return to something active, or combine relaxation techniques (such as breathing) with activities.

Good luck with your group!


Headache Buster

by Julie
(Hertfordshire UK)

I had a headache relief podcast I was sure was from you (your voice is fantastic to listen to!). I had to change my laptop and my podcasts have gotten wiped and now I can’t find it. Am I right was it from you? If so could you please re post it on I tunes, I have a migraine and it used to really help me. Also I use your relaxation script for my autistic son could you do one for being afraid of the dark?

Thank you

Hi Julie,

Thank you for your requests – and thanks for the compliment! Yes, this podcast was from me, originally posted in Fall 2009 (access the written script here). I will post the headache relief audio for the next Relaxation by Inner Health Studio podcast. I’ll do an upcoming podcast about being afraid of the dark.

You may also access the Relaxation for Headache Relief from audio the Members Only relaxation downloads page. Click on the Headache Relief audio link to download.


Autogenic Suggestions Ideas

by Bill Halliday

Today, in my Relaxation Class at the V.A., I found an Autogenic Suggestion to help me with my Panic Attack. It is “I am alert and creative”. WOW! it relaxed me enough to lower my blood pressure to 136/75 when it had meen running around 147+/90+. Nice. I refined it to “I am relaxed, alert and creative” I think that will work as well.

I have another area that I need an Autogenic Suggestion.

I have a problem with fatigue and unwillingness to exercise or clean the house. The idea of stooping or binding over causes mental and muscular fatigue. Looking at the mess in the house, garage and yard causes me mental fatigue and I simply don’t do anything.

If anyone has any suggestions for Autogenic Suggestions that may help me with these problems, I would like to hear them?

Good question! Maybe this “Relaxation for Overcoming Procrastination” will help. The suggestions in this script might be the type you are looking for.

I like the “I am alert and creative” suggestion. What a good idea.

Anyone else who has ideas – please post them in the comments section below!


Meditation Suggestion

As an actor, I would love to see a meditation that is focused possibly on getting in to the character’s state of mind. Like what to they want, what is their obstacle, that kind of deal.

Good idea! I’ll do an upcoming podast on that topic. Thank you for the suggestion.


Meditation for Acting

Winter Blues

I was wondering if you could do a relaxation script for dealing with the seasonal blues.

Yes, I can do a script on this topic. Dealing with seasonal blues is relevant for many people. Thank you for the idea.


Meditation question

by Celia
(Boston, MA)

I have started to do the counting meditation which I have heard is a very good meditation for beginners. However, sometime during the meditation I feel like I am half asleep, I stop counting and thoughts just run through my head. Is this normal or am I falling asleep? If I am falling asleep how do I stop falling asleep?

Yes, this is normal. Many people report an altered state of consciousness while meditating. Most of us (except maybe for people who are very practiced in meditation) find that the state you describe is closely followed by sleep.

The time you are able to remain focused will increase with practice. At first, you will probably only be able to focus for a couple of minutes before your mind wanders and you feel like you are falling asleep. Eventually, you will be able to concentrate for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or even longer.

To maintain the state of relaxation and remain awake, here are some things you may want to try:

– Choose a position that keeps you awake, such as sitting cross legged. A position that is slightly uncomfortable may prevent falling asleep.

– Hold something loosely in your hand, with your fingers pointing down – a small coin works well – and if you fall asleep, you will drop the coin and the sound will wake you up.

– Play a sound or music track in the background that is quiet but has periodic louder sounds that can catch your attention and keep you awake.

– Start with short sessions (less than 5 minutes), and gradually work up to longer ones. Set a timer to end the session before you fall asleep.

Enjoy meditating!

Return to Advice – relaxation.

Calming Down After Excitement

This may sound crazy, but would you consider doing a relaxation podcast to help people calm down from good news? I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping since I got a job offer, and for once, it isn’t due to anxiety or anything bad–I’m just so happy and excited I can’t sleep. I go to bed, but I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas. Thank you for considering my oddball request!

What a good idea! I think this is something many people can relate to. Even good things can get the mind going enough to be disruptive. I’ll do a podcast on this topic. Thanks for the suggestion.


Tranquil Streams Relaxation

by Ryan Beifus
(South Africa)

Tranquil streams brings instant relaxation to our busy industrial lives. The macro photography of gentle flowing water filmed in the beautiful Table Mountain National Park South Africa mixed with soothing ambience of nature and reiki inspired healing music will instantly calm and relax your mind.

Please have a listen and enjoy.

Diane B
Wonderful relaxing experience. The perfect way to release the stresses of the day. Listening and watching this transports me to a another level of consciousness. Thank you so much.

So Wonderful chill out space you have created –
so light, tenderly relaxing and energizing athmosphere .. and may be something more… 🙂 ?

Thank you
Ryan Beifus

Group Guided Imagery

I’m working in a behavioral health unit. My background is in music education, but my duties are listed as music therapy (something I’m not totaly comfortable with). I’d like to end specific sessions with music and guided imagery, but I need some “pre-script” advice on the activity guidelines. How do I reduce the giggle-ers, the excessive movement-ers, the this is “stupid-ers?” How do you introduce an activity of this type and what are your rules for the patients?
Rome, GA

Hi Kam,

Good questions. I introduce relaxation exercises by explaining at the beginning of the session the purpose of relaxation and what to expect. For example:

“My name is Candi. I am an occupational therapist, and I will be conducting today’s relaxation session. The purpose of this group is to give you a chance to relax your mind and body, and to learn how to use relaxation techniques to relax when you want to. This session will last about half an hour. First, we will discuss what relaxation is, and how it works. Then you will have a chance to get comfortable and follow along with an actual relaxation exercise.”

I then explain the following:

– The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response

– Relaxation is a skill that takes practice. With practice you can learn conscious control over body responses that are usually automatic, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

– Relaxation has a number of benefits such as improved learning and memory, improved resistance to stress, and relief from anxiety.

Some expectations that I outline at the start include:

– Please stay for the entire session. If you are not sure you will be able to stay for the whole group or be still and quiet for 30 minutes, please leave the session now rather than in the middle of the exercise

– It’s okay to ask questions now or at the end of the session, but please do not talk during the relaxation exercise

– Avoid any movements that cause discomfort (e.g. if performing progressive muscle relaxation, tighten muscles to the point of tension but NOT pain)

– It is important to be as quiet as possible during the session to allow everyone to concentrate and to relax

– It is normal to find relaxation a bit challenging at first. It gets easier with practice.

– There is nothing you need to make happen. All you need to do is observe how you are feeling and allow relaxation to occur.

For group members who are giggling or talking and do not seem interested, some ways that I have found might help engage them are:

– Ask who has done relaxation or meditation in the past, whether it helpful, and if they still practice these techniques.

– Have each person describe the reasons they decided to come to this particular session (and suggest that some people may have decided to attend because they were curious, bored, etc – that it is okay if they have mixed feelings about being there).

– Ask each participant to name one thing they hope to get out of the session, and if they are stuck, suggest that if nothing else it may give them a short break where all they need to do is relax.

I let participants know that if they are interested in trying out a relaxation technique that is great, but if they are not interested or do not want to attend, it is okay. I won’t be offended if they do not wish to stay, but they are welcome to stay if they want to. Sometimes just hearing out loud that they have a choice helps participants see the value and decide to pay attention.

I hope this gives you some ideas to help get sessions off to a good start. Any therapists, group facilitators, or group attendees who have more ideas – please post them here as a comment!


Relaxation ascension

Question: Could you do a relaxation script that focuses on walking up the stairs to a relaxed place for sleep?

Also, I shared one of your breathing exercise today with someone who was emotionally flooded and it seemed to help her.

Answer: I’m glad to hear that you shared the breathing exercise with someone and that it was helpful. Yes, I will do a relaxation script on walking up the stairs to a relaxed place to go to sleep. Thank you for the suggestion. Keep checking back to find the script when it becomes available.

Question about podcasts

by Bobbie

Hello 🙂
I posted on your Facebook page a few days ago re your hot springs guided meditation script – you included a link, which I was able to access, however I was wondering if I can access it via the iTunes podcast app. I have the inner health studio podcast saved but I am unable to locate these podcast episodes within iTunes. The reason I ask is that ive been having difficulty downloading it properly through the other links. It stops and starts and it was quite frustrating. There seem to only be SOME of the podcasts available via the iTunes link and not ALL of them. I’m really after the hot springs sleep meditation – it’s one of my favourites.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time,
Kind regards,
Bobbie 🙂

Hi Bobbie,
Only the most recent episodes are available in iTunes at any given time, so that is why you’re having trouble finding old episodes. I will post the Hot Springs Sleep Relaxation episode again so you can download it. It will be available in iTunes later this week!
Another option for those of you who may be looking for more downloads – some past episodes are available at the Self Help Store for $2.75 each.


Eyes Closed or Open for Guided Imagery Videos

Question: Since I had to google guided imagery it’s obvious I don’t know how to do this. Do I close my eyes or watch the pictures on the screen? I loved the voice on the white cloud relaxation video.

Answer: You can either watch the video or close your eyes – whatever you find the most relaxing. If you can easily visualize images, you will probably find it easiest to close your eyes. If you have a hard time visualizing, the pictures can help give you an image to start with.


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